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Millennium Post

Whopping loss incurred due to mismanagement at DU printing press

New Delhi: Yet another example of mismanagement, poor planning and negligence at Delhi University that led to a massive loss of Rs 349.2 lakh has come to light.
In the latest case, the University printing facility looks like a museum of vintage treadle printing machines, which is rusting and gathering dust for decades.
Meanwhile, since 2009, the press has incurred heavy losses, an audit report reveals. The two offset machines bought in the late 90s with grants from Ford Foundation haven't been used for over a decade.
Its website says, "Due to lack of infrastructure and staff, presently university press prints degrees, answer books, envelopes, etc."
Meanwhile, the audit report reveals that five machines worth Rs 36 lakh are lying idle at the university press bay since September 2004. However, these machines are in running conditions.
It has also come to notice that printing works of case material and information bulletin of the faculty of law during 2013-16 was undertaken by outside printers.
The faculty of law incurred an extra expenditure of Rs 140.36 lakh during 2013-16 due to outsourcing of the printing work.
"Taking this into account, if the faculty of law allots their printing works to the university press, it would result in a lot of saving for the university as a whole," a source at DU said.
He further said that outsourcing the printing work is a violation of resolution no 267( vi) which clearly states that no printing works should be got executed from the outside presses.
The audit report further reads that various departments do not make timely payment for printing bills to the University press, which madde the outstanding dues to be Rs 131.60 lakh.
"Since the press is a commercial independent entity of the University of Delhi, which meets its expenditure, but due to non-timely working, the entire facility is on the verge of death," officials added.
Over the years, its staff strength has been dwindling. The press has 10 people (against a sanctioned strength of 95), including two machine operators, three clerks, and a storekeeper.
Interestingly, for a university press that prints only answer sheets and envelopes, it has a formidable advisory committee that includes a battery of professors, deans, and deputy registrars, among others, the reports said.
"No vice-chancellor ever showed any interest in the Delhi University Press, creating an editorial team and developing a publishing programme," says a professor, not wishing to be named.
Many former and present teachers believe that a university press is the academic arm of the university and DUP should be an instrument of learning and teaching, not printing.
"I wanted my books to be published by Delhi University Press but got to know they do not have an editorial team. I would first like to give my book to our own university press because it is a matter of pride for a teacher to be published by his her own university press," says a professor, who teaches English at Gargi College, and has written several books, including course books for Delhi University, to her credit.
"Unlike a commercial publisher, a university press can easily make academic books available to students at affordable prices."
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